ah, spring!

Our weatherman has reported the end of winter here in MN; mild weather lies ahead in the forecast.  I haven’t worn a coat outside for the past two days — ah, spring!

While we rejoice in the pleasant weather, springtime isn’t a cakewalk for the wildlife. Yes, temperatures are more tolerable, but increased daylength in the spring usually means animals are more active (thus, increasing energy expenses) and there is even less food for them than there was a couple of months ago.   The vegetation is still dormant, as are the insects, and flowers, fruits, and nectar won’t be available for weeks.  So…it’s back to the bird feeders to supplement the waning nutrition found in the forest.

Pileated Woodpeckrr male

That huge bill makes big gouges in the peanut butter suet, as this male Pileated Woodpecker takes a big bite.

Pileated Woodpeckrr male

Males have a red mustache, an all red feather crest, and black breast and belly feathers.

I’ve often heard the Pileated Woodpeckers make their eerie-sounding call in distant backyard.  The pair is resident on the same territory all year, though it might expand slightly in the winter.  But the first time I’ve seen them at the suet feeders this winter was just the past week, so perhaps supplies of overwintering grubs is running low in the forest.

Pileated Woodpeckrr female-

Mrs. Pileated prefers the suet stacks in the seed feeder. She seems to have lighter-colored breast and belly feathers.  Her mustache is black, and the red head feathers do not extend down to her beak, as it does in the male.

Pileated Woodpecker female-

She, too, bites large chunks of the suet and gulps them down before flying off, back to the forest.

7 thoughts on “ah, spring!

  1. Ah Spring for sure … What great images. And how nice of them to set up shop in your neighborhood. I’m going to try this year to attack some of the bigger birds … Although the cottonwoods seem to attract the crows, who make keep out the others.

  2. How nice to see a Pileated at the feeders. While I get an assortment of woodpeckers in my yard, we aren’t woodsy enough for the Pileated.

    Spring here too, and just in time to prevent me from going stir crazy. Lots of birdsong today (it’s in the 70s) with the Red-winged Blackbirds leading the chorus.

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